A family reportedly vacationing in Las Vegas will return home to a shock.
Their house has been condemned by the City and their pets have been seized by the County.
It all started when neighbors noticed no one was feeding or watering the animals.
Neighbors were horrified to realize that the small terrier and the white cat were tied outside in the heat.
And no one was providing food or water for them.
So the City of Martins Ferry and the Belmont County dog warden stepped in.
They say what they found at 1311 Terrace Street shocked them.
“The cat was chained to a cage on the front porch,” said Chief John McFarland of the Martins Ferry Police Department. “The dog was off to the side of the porch, chained to a dog house. Information we received is that the homeowners haven’t been there for a week.”
Neighbors told police the vacationing family left a relative in charge of pets.
But they say he never showed up.
Police and the code enforcer also found dense weeds, rotting steps and uninhabitable conditions.
“It was absolutely unacceptable,” said Chief McFarland. “As a result of that, we condemned the house to where they are not able to reside there.”
Neighbors were reportedly trying to feed and water the pets, hoping the person who was supposed to do it would arrive.
“By the looks of things, it didn’t appear that he was showing up or doing his part,” said the chief.
“If they have the money to go to Las Vegas, they sure as heck should be able to feed their animals or have somebody take care of them,” noted one Martins Ferry woman who declined to be identified.
“I think it’s terrible,” said Ed Doughty of Martins Ferry, “I think it’s a shame.”
So the dog warden took the dog and cat.
And the City condemned the house.
The chief said he understands that grass and weeds grow quickly this time of year, and that some people have physical challenges and find it difficult to cut the grass.
“If you reach out and ask for help and do the right thing, there’s people to help you,” said Chief McFarland. “But if you want to be ignorant and not address the issue and not deal with it and just live in filth, then your house is going to get condemned and you deserve every fine that you get.”
He says this family will face City code violations and possibly even criminal charges.
“If you can’t take care of your pets, don’t get them.” he concluded.
They say when the family gets home, they can go onto the property to work on it.
But they can’t live there until a lot of changes are made.
Animal shelter officials did not allow the two pets to be photographed at this point.
But they assure everyone they’re getting good care at the shelter.